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Without a doubt, our day trip to Ugljan Island was the highlight of our three day weekend in Zadar.
There are so many reasons to recommend a day trip to Ugljan Island. I’m so happy we opted to get off the beaten path at this charming destination rather than head to the more popular Zrce beach or Kornati Islands.
If you’re considering a day trip to Ugljan Island, here’s everything you need to know to make it happen!
How to Get to Ugljan Island From Zadar
I love this day trip to Ugljan Island was because it’s so easy. I’d already used up all my travel patience on the 4 hour bus trip from Zagreb to Zadar, so I didn’t want anything too far.
We considered the Kornati Islands, but the all-day outings were expensive. We thought about taking a bus to Zrce Beach on Pag Island, but the tickets were 80 kuna / $12.50 usd per person and the ride was over an hour.
Finally, we just went to the Zadar Ferry Port and asked for the next boat out. When she told us it was to the town of Preko on Ugljan Island and only required a 20 minute ride, I was sold.
In fact, Ugljan Island is so close you can see it from Zadar! The port town that you’ll arrive in, Preko, is directly across the water from the city. Don’t let this fool you though, these two places are worlds apart in every other way.
To get to Ugljan Island, check out the ferry timetable here and read it carefully because the schedule varies by month. Then, take an Uber to the ferry port and buy your ticket at the main office. Best of all, round trip tickets have an open return. This perk lets you stay as long as you want and hop on any boat back that you’d like!
Costs For a Day Trip to Ugljan Island
Another reason why we chose this outing over other options like Zrce beach was because it’s affordable. Despite it’s close proximity to Zadar, Ugljan Island is mostly passed over by tourists so you can escape some of the ultra-high prices you find elsewhere on the coast.
On our day trip to Ugljan Island, we spent:
75 kuna / 12 usd for an Uber to and from the ferry port
72 kuna / 11 usd for two round trip ferry tickets
130 kuna / 20 usd for two 6-hour bike rentals from an agency in the main square.
38 kuna / 6 usd for some snacks at the small market (pastries, apples, water, etc.)
…and that’s about it.
We brought a bottle of wine with us from Zadar and munched on some snacks throughout the day rather than eat at a restaurant. If you do want to get lunch or dinner on the island there are multiple restaurants to choose (but I’m unsure about the prices you can expect).
What to do on Ugljan Island
The best thing to do on Ugljan Island is rent a bike.
Daniel and I got off the ferry around noon and walked from the port to the town of Preko. This pictureesque walk along the water and through a marina was beautiful and made me excited to see more of the island. While you can eat, swim, and relax in the town of Preko, I recommend exploring more with a bike rental!
Organizing it was super easy and we simply went to the tour and rental shop in the main square. The price was 65 kuna / 10 usd for a 6 hour rental and we got two. From here, we headed across the street and grabbed some pastries, apples, and another water bottle at the small Konzam Market and we were on our way.
There is a map of the island in the main square, and I recommend taking a picture before you leave. We decided to take the main road all the way to the end of the Island to the town of Ugljan, but there are plenty of side trips you can take instead.
The ride was about an hour and though it did have uphill it was nothing too strenuous. The views were beautiful and varied from rolling green hills to ocean views to red roofed towns with church spires.
Finally, we arrived in the town of Ugljan and rode through it to find the most beautiful little swimming cove with an old church.
The water was clear and splashed in varying shades of blue. A few people dotted the shore and were jumping in off a docked boat, and all in all it looked like every Mediterranean fantasy I’ve ever had came to life. No crowds, no stress, just a pier, a packed lunch, and a few hours to enjoy under the sun.
We brought a bottle of wine with us and split it while swimming in the water and laying on the pier. We simply relaxed in Ugljan for a few hours until it was time to tackle the our long bike ride back (it was easier than the way out, at least) and return our rentals.
Then, it was as simple as checking the timeline for the next boat back to Zadar and boarding it for the trip at dusk. Because we visited in the high season there were multiple ferry times to choose from. If you want to grab dinner or drinks in Preko before you leave you can even stay until 10 pm or later most days.
I suggest trying to get one back during sunset because the trip is beautiful. Honestly, the views from the ferry on the way out and back alone were enough to make a day trip to Ugljan Island from Zadar worth the effort!
Visit Ugljan Island With This Guide
If you like to get off the beaten path and explore quiet destinations, a visit to Ugljan Island is for you. It’s close to Zadar, fairly budget-friendly, and stunningly beautiful.
This little piece of paradise was definitely the highlight on our trip to Zadar and I can’t recommend it enough! Enjoy!